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Predictors of Patterns of Alcohol-Related Blackouts Over Time in Youth From the Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Alcoholism: The Roles of Genetics and Cannabis.



Alcohol-related blackouts (ARBs) are anterograde amnesias related to heavy alcohol intake seen in about 50% of drinkers. Although a major determinant of ARBs relates to blood alcohol concentrations, additional contributions come from genetic vulnerabilities and possible impacts of cannabis use disorders (CUDs). We evaluated relationships of genetics and cannabis use to latent class trajectories of ARBs in 829 subjects from the Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA).


The number of ARBs experienced every 2 years from subjects with average ages of 18 to 25 were entered into a latent class growth analysis in Mplus, and resulting class membership was evaluated in light of baseline characteristics, including CUDs. Correlations of number of ARBs across assessments were also compared for sibling pairs versus unrelated subjects.


Latent class growth analysis identified ARB-based Classes 1 (consistent low = 42.5%), 2 (moderate low = 28.3%), 3 (moderate high = 22.9%), and 4 (consistent high = 6.3%). A multinomial logistic regression analysis within latent class growth analysis revealed that baseline CUDs related most closely to Classes 3 and 4. The number of ARBs across time correlated .23 for sibling pairs and -.10 for unrelated subjects.


Baseline CUDs related to the most severe latent ARB course over time, even when considered along with other trajectory predictors, including baseline alcohol use disorders and maximum number of drinks. Data indicated significant roles for genetic factors for alcohol use disorder patterns over time. Future research is needed to improve understanding of how cannabis adds to the ARB risk and to find genes that contribute to risks for ARBs among drinkers.

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